AFTER almost three long years, the Anglican Diocese of the Murray finally has a new bishop.
The Right Reverend John Ford will become the new head of the diocese and replace former bishop Ross Davies, who resigned amid a storm of controversy in September 2010.
Bishop Ford is currently serving as the Bishop of Plymouth in the Diocese of Exeter, in England.
He was elected unanimously by the Bishop's Election Committee.
The Venerable Richard Seabrook has been administrator of the Murray Diocese since Bishop Davies' resignation and said he was pleased to finally have a replacement.
"I am delighted the election of a new bishop has taken place and look forward, after such a long time without a bishop, to welcoming Bishop Ford to the Diocese of the Murray to lead the priests and the people here and build of the work of God's church," Father Seabrook said.
Bishop Ford has worked as Bishop of Plymouth since 2005 and was a residentiary canon, a diocesan missioner and a parish priest in Sussex before that.
He said he was humbled and surprised by his election, saying he understood he would have to work hard to learn about the local culture and practices.
"I am really looking forward to learning about life in Australia and commit myself to doing so as fast a possible," he said.
Bishop Ford is expected to be installed as the fourth Bishop of The Murray at Murray Bridge on December 6, the day before his inaugural celebration of the Holy Eucharist for the Diocese.
The Diocese of the Murray is one of three in South Australia and includes 22 parishes and pastoral districts.
The appointment of Bishop Ford should spell the end to a bruising chapter in the Diocese's recent history, after about 200 members of the church banded together to campaign for the removal of his predecessor.
The episode culminated in the church bringing nine internal charges against Bishop Davies, however, he resigned just days before a special Anglican tribunal was convened.